One of Plymouths most famous hotels has announced it is closing due to the impact of the pandemic. The Duke of Cornwall has been a major landmark in Millbay since Victorian times, but its owners say COVID has left it financially unviable.
With its six stories and gothic architecture, The Duke of Cornwall is hard to miss, built in 1863 as Plymouths first luxury hotel, it is one of the cities best known landmarks and the setting for many a celebration, and yet the owners announced yesterday that even this business is no longer viable. For people in Plymouth the news is sad, but perhaps not surprising. The hotel has a special place in Plymouth’s history, when Titanic survivors landed here, 20 of the ship’s stewardesses were put up at The Duke of Cornwall. It’s one of the few local buildings to survive the second World War, but it couldn’t survive the pandemic. The owners blame repeated lockdowns and social distancing regulations for shrinking revenue, and say they have tried their hardest to avoid permanent closure.
Stuart Elford, the CEO for Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said last night on ITV News “The leisure, hospitality & tourism industry has been decimated by this pandemic. I think for those that can survive, there’s a chance that the economy can bounce back fairly quickly, once we are allowed to fully open, but between now and then we need these businesses protected and supported to prevent mass redundancies”.
Around 65 staff at The Duke of Cornwall are losing their jobs, nationally though the news is getting brighter, falling case numbers, the end of lockdown on the horizon, but for The Duke of Cornwall, as with so many other businesses, it’s all a little too late.
At last, some good news! We reported last month the sad news that one of Plymouths most historic hotels, The Duke of Cornwall, was closing due to the financial pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully the owners have been able to confirm, thanks to a deal being agreed with management company RBH, the hotel will reopen for business as soon as restrictions will allow.